5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Debut, Interesting Read (4.3 on a scale of 1-5),
This review is from: Prep: A Novel (Hardcover)
Prep rivets the reader from the first page until the last.
The narrator, Lee, is a 14-year old girl from a family in South Bend, Indiana, who enters the rarified world of a New England prep school. She goes from being a star in the classroom to a student of middling quality, from the middle of America to the middle of the Northeastern elite, and from middle class to the fringes of her new society. For middle class in this rarified milieu equals lower class.
Lee spends four years on the periphery of all of her class's cliques: neither popular nor unpopular, she simply exists. Yet her gift--her ability to observe the nuances of her own and her classmates behavior-is both extraordinary and unrecognized by nearly everyone (save for a perceptive individual or two) around her.
Sittenfeld tackles a subject that is almost anthema in our society: the one of class. She notices all the subtleties amongst the rich (there's dignified rich, and old rich, and simply over-the-top, laugh out loud rich). Small things--like who has flowers on their bedspreads--tell of great differences.
Not much happens in this book. Then again, that is the point. When one is in one of these small, precious, insulated and isolated environments, one thinks that this is life. Lee, at the end, realizes an entire world had gone on for the four years that she was at prep school without her realizing it. And that comforts her.
I highly recommend this book to lovers of contemporary fiction everywhere.